Prodigal Son

I found my Senn HD650s the other day. I haven’t used them in years. They looked OK but the foam in the headband had disappeared and the ear pads were decidedly dog eared. It did seem a pity not to be using them so i decided to fix them up. Sourcing replacement parts was easy, and once re-padded, I tried them in the headphone socket of my iMac. They sounded OK, but way underpowered. A headphone amp was needed. Google is your friend.

It took a while for it to dawn on me that I was barking up the wrong tree; linking a headphone amp to my iMac was pointless. The headphone socket of the iMac is not hi-res and whilst I would be able to access Qobuz etc, I couldn’t work out how to access the music on my QNAP.

There had to be a solution, and there was; an incredibly obvious one. Sitting right next to me in my den, is my network hub for my main system. A year ago following sound advice from forum members, I linked a pair of Cisco 2960s with a fibre optic cable. So my search parameters changed. I needed to look for a headphone amp with a DAC that could be networked. Little did I know that the solution was lurking close to home.

On a headfi forum I followed a link to the Naim Uniti Atom Headphone Edition. The reviews were all very positive, including one reviewer who reported on the synergy with Senn HD650s.

I am pleased to find that this one box has all the features I am looking for: headphone amp, DAC, network connection, access to internet radio, Qobuz, my QNAP of course and via airplay, computer audio. I found that it is even a simple cable swap to change the HD650s to balanced mode. I have one on order. It should be here next week.

So, here I am, after a decade’s break from Naim, returning to the fold. I have high hopes for the Atom HE, but as they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.